Ironically, I am writing this post on an Independence Day when rights for so many have been curtailed and even more rights are threatened by rumored rulings. On this day, those of us who are American reflect (or should reflect) on the sacrifice our ancestors made to form this country we now call the United States. Many of us today only focus on our barbecues and picnics and not on the sacrifice of men and women so long ago—and sacrifice it was. It is estimated that approximately 6,800 men died in battle, that approximately 6, 100 were wounded, and that over 20,000 were prisoners of war. Many died of disease and deprivation while prisoners. The war also had a devastating effect on women. Many women lost everything their families had worked to obtain, and often suffered abuse, even rape, at the hands of the invading British Army.
This freedom was hard fought and has been continuously defended over the history of this country. In my novel Love at War, Nuala and her family fight to defeat the Axis powers in WWII. Like many warriors, Nuala, her husband Keith, and her brother George are unlikely heroes. Nuala joins the military to avenge the death of the man she loves, is recruited by intelligence, and spies for the Allies. Her husband uses his skill as a sniper to defeat the enemy and survive in brutal circumstances. Her brother George is the unlikeliest of heroes—wild and reckless. He becomes a seasoned soldier and gives his heart to a woman he tries to despise.
Of course, soldiers have often fought bravely to defend home and country. In From Ice Wagon to Club House, Jude Mooney joins with the British to defeat German aggression even though his heart belongs to his native Ireland. He also joins the Irish cause to fight for the freedom of his native people. In The Progeny, his sons and other young relatives battle imperialist aggression in Europe and Asia in the British Air Force and in the American army. As in Love at War, women play a prominent role in the fight for freedom in The Progeny. His niece Julia and step-daughter Jade nurse the wounded in the battle-torn Philippines. Not all of the Mooney heirs will return home.
Let’s pray that our country continues to remain a democracy in which we have the freedom to express opinions and follow our own belief systems. Hopefully, an era of respect and tolerance will reign, wiping out a dark period of divisiveness and intolerance.